Have you wondered what happens to your CSA share if you aren’t able to pick it up one week? Have you been troubled by visions of abandoned, rotting vegetables left by the wayside? Well, rest easy! You will be pleased to know that your veggies have not gone to waste. As a core part of our philosophy, Farmer Dave’s has been working with some amazing organizations to make sure that all extra CSA shares and surplus produce can be made available to those in need. In addition, Farmer Dave’s also donates excess produce from both of our farm stands and our various farmers markets. We are happy to be partnering with these organizations in order to help increase access to fresh, healthy, local produce for people and communities, regardless of income. Check out our hunger relief partners in your area!
Lawrence: Groundwork Lawrence and Neighbors in Need
Groundwork Lawrence is a nonprofit that has been making change happen in Lawrence since 2001 through its environmental and open space improvements, community food programs, youth initiatives, and educational programming and events. Groundwork Lawrence’s community food programs are aimed at increasing Lawrence residents’ access to fresh, local food and include the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market, the Community Gardens Program, the Schoolyard Gardens Program, and, since 2007, a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program in partnership with Farmer Dave’s. The Groundwork Lawrence CSA also offers a Share-a-Share program, funded by donations and grants, to subsidize the price of CSA shares for Lawrence residents in need. In addition, all unclaimed shares and extra produce are donated to the Neighbors in Need’s network of eight food pantries throughout Lawrence and Methuen.
For the past 25 years, Neighbors in Need has sought to feed people in Lawrence without question or means-testing for the individuals and families they serve, fulfilling the needs of clients with respect and dignity. In addition to their network of food pantries, Neighbors in Need works alongside clients to make sure they connect to the resources available to them.
We are proud to announce that because of its dynamic partnership with Farmer Dave’s and Groundwork Lawrence, Neighbors in Need received over 6,000 pounds of farm-fresh produce in donated shares in 2007 and 2008 and to date has already received 3,000 pounds of healthy, local food from the donated shares in this 2009 season.
- More information about Groundwork Lawrence can be found at www.groundworklawrence.org
- More information about Neighbors in Need can be found at www.neighborsinneed.net
Boston Medical Center: Boston Medical Center Food Pantry
To address the burden of hunger and malnutrition in their patient population, Boston Medical Center (BMC) established the Preventive Food Pantry and Demonstration Kitchen in 2002. The pantry and demonstration kitchen provide culturally appropriate foods for normal and therapeutic diets and address a wide range of disorders often associated with malnutrition and hunger. By providing food, education in nutrition, and cooking demonstrations to nearly 5,000 patients per month, BMC is able to effectively fight against the effects of hunger and malnutrition.
Farmer Dave’s is thrilled to have established a CSA drop-off site at the medical center as well as participating in the weekly farmers market with the Food Project. It seemed like an obvious partnership to bring fresh, healthy produce to a community-based healthcare facility. This allows both staff and patients to have access to nuritious food, and at the end of the market, all excess CSA produce goes to the BMC Food Pantry.
- More information about the BMC Food Pantry can be found here
Lanesville: The Open Door
The Open Door serves to alleviate hunger in the communities of Cape Ann, including Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Manchester, and Ipswich. The Open Door provides free meals and food in a hospitable environment, as well as advocacy, job-skills training, and job placement through our programs. The Open Door’s three main programs are the Food Pantry, which provides emergency groceries to those in need; Community Meals, which offers free, nutritious meals and community fellowship; and the Second Glance Thrift Store.
The Open Door also offers other services to the community, including a free summer lunch for kids, assistance applying for food stamps, a food cooperative for local volunteers, a food rescue program, a free farmers’ market, a Brown Bag Market for seniors, a job-training program, and a collaborative meals program that helps other organizations feed their clients.
- More information about Open Door can be found at www.foodpantry.org
Boston Area Gleaners
Boston Area Gleaners (BAG) connects with local farms to gather and harvest produce leftover in the fields after the farm has done its main harvesting. Once harvested, the produce is donated to local food pantries and soup kitchens. In the summer of 2009, we had a crew of BAG volunteers at Farmer Dave’s to glean the green bean crop. With only 4 volunteers they gleaned 5 boxes (around 100 pounds)! The beans, as well as some extra corn the farm had to contribute went to homeless families in Alewife, The Cambridge Food Pantry, and the Salvation Army in Central Square.
Boston Area Gleaners is a volunteer run initiative and can always use some enthusiastic harvest helpers. BAG partners with farms in many locations, and may be gleaning at a farm near you. So if you would like to join other “field philanthropists” in being a part of helping good produce find its way to those who need it, while getting out and experiencing vibrant farm fields firsthand, email Oakes Plimpton at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about Boston Area Gleaners can be found at www.bostonareagleaners.org
Dracut and Tewksbury: Merrimack Valley Food Bank
In our own hometown area, Farmer Dave’s has been working closely with the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB), donating produce from our two farm stands and CSA programs in Dracut and Tewksbury, as well as any excess produce from our many farmers markets. The mission of the MVFB is to help agencies achieve the goal of hunger relief. They are the “Supermarket” for food pantries, meals programs, shelters and residential and day programs throughout the Merrimack Valley, the North Shore, and parts of New Hampshire. The MVFB distributes an average of 2 million pounds of food per year through a network of 100 emergency food agencies. They believe that only through cooperative efforts can society initiate change, develop strategies to alleviate hunger, and work toward improving the quality of life.
We are also excited to be a part of their Community Market Program. In its second year, the program aims to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of the North Common Village Apartments, affordable housing in Lowell, MA. Last year we were able to help serve 162 families in that community.
- More information about the Merrimack Valley Food Bank can be found at www.mvfb.org
Jamaica Plain: Community Servings
In Jamaica Plain, Farmer Dave’s will be working with Community Servings for the first time in 2010. Community Servings is dedicated to providing free home-delivered meals throughout Eastern Massachusetts to people homebound with HIV/AIDS and other acute life-threatening illnesses, who are unable to shop or cook for themselves. They provide their clients, their dependent families, and caregivers appealing, nutritious meals, reaching out to those in greatest need. They design their meals to meet the complex dietary needs of those coping with devastating illness. Most of their clients are also struggling economically and can’t afford to maintain a balanced diet.
Farmer Dave’s will be donating unclaimed shares in Jamaica Plain to Community Servings. We are grateful for the opportunity to help with such a worthy cause.
- More information about the Community Servings can be found at www.servings.org
Malden: Housing Families
Housing Families serves very low-income Greater Boston families and individuals who are homeless, near-homeless, or newly-housed—52% of whom are children—at affordable housing facilities in the Massachusetts cities of Malden, Medford, Everett, and Revere. They serve families referred from many cities and towns across the Commonwealth, concentrated primarily in Boston and surrounding communities.
Housing Families believes in a holistic approach to assisting families that addresses the complex circumstances that lead to housing loss, as well as the sustained negative effects that result from homelessness. Case managers and program staff provide individualized care and advocacy for all family members beginning with each family’s arrival to Transitional Shelter and continuing throughout the journey toward maintaining a stable, permanent household. Their children’s programming includes providing free transportation, tutoring, counseling, summer programs, and age-based therapeutic arts groups. Children they serve show notable academic progress, improved social interaction behavior, and increased self-esteem. Therapeutic groups offer guidance, peer support and a sense of belonging for children and youth who have experienced homelessness or housing instability. Housing families also offers counseling services, parenting classes, and women’s groups.
Housing Families receives unclaimed shares from our Malden pick-up location. For more information about Housing Families, visit www.housingfamilies.org.
Somerville: Elizabeth Peabody House
In 2010, Elizabeth Peabody House will receive the CSA donations from East Somerville each week. The mission of Elizabeth Peabody House is to provide a broad array of educational, social and recreational services to address the essential and changing needs of families in the City of Somerville and surrounding communities. They operate a weekly food pantry as part of their programming. The donations from the CSA will enable them to offer fresh produce in addition to their dry goods.
- More information about Elizabeth Peabody House can be found at www.elizabethpeabodyhouse.org
Somerville: Cambridge Health Alliance HIV Program
In 2009, the Cambridge Health Alliance HIV Program received the CSA donations from East Somerville each week. This organization is committed to improving the overall health status of the Somerville and Cambridge communities by reducing the number of HIV infections in those communities, as well as providing medical care and social services to those who are HIV positive. In addition to clinical services for people with HIV, Alliance provides counseling and testing, case management, and outreach prevention programs for them and their families. They are currently serving 420 people living with HIV and AIDS, over 55% of whom speak a language other than English as their primary language and 76% of whom are living under the federal poverty line.
Working in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, Alliance also runs the HIV Food Program for patients in greatest need of nutritional support for themselves and their families. The food provided is intended to supplement food at home, allowing patients to better adhere to complicated medication regimes and maintain healthy living. Currently, about 150 patients use the food pantry on a monthly basis. Beginning last year, the Farmer Dave’s CSA donations provided an option for fresh produce in addition to the dry goods already available.